12 amazingly good and healthy uses for fruit and vegetable peel

Hong Kong experts say you can eat peel, dry it and use to flavour tea, turn it into a DIY facial, keep sugar or a roast moist or your fridge smelling fresh, and even polish your aluminium and silverware

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 14 July, 2015, 9:58am
UPDATED : Thursday, 14 June, 2018, 4:45pm

Fruit and vegetable peel often makes its way straight into the waste bin, yet peel is packed with fibre and nutrients. The skin is often the most nutritious part of the fruit or vegetable.

Together with an abundance of fruits and vegetables, peel makes up a healthy plant-based diet. So don't throw your kitchen scraps away. Apart from composting, peel can be used in other ways.

Eat the peel

Some peel is edible and a good source of vitamins and antioxidants, which can keep you healthy.

Apple skin is a good source of fibre, which helps lower cholesterol and control blood sugar. It also contains as much as 45 per cent of the vitamin A and C found in each apple.

Here's another surprise: kiwi fruit can be eaten whole. Although the hairy skin of kiwi fruit can be tart, it contains three times the amount of antioxidants compared to the pulp. Scrape the surface or opt for gold kiwi fruit, which has similar nutritional value.

Before consuming produce peel, make sure the fruit is washed well.

Drink it 

To preserve fruit skins for a longer period of time, bake the  peel until crispy, then add the dried peel to hot water to brew a soothing tea. This not only enhances the kick and flavour of the beverage, but also provides various health benefits.

Banana peel is rich in potassium and magnesium, which helps maintain a good night's sleep and ease depression. Orange-peel-infused tea can be an instant natural remedy for an upset stomach, and is also the perfect ingredient for a honey fruit tea. And a cup of winter melon tea in this humid weather can help decrease water retention symptoms.

Fresh skins work well in tea, too - from peaches, apples, oranges or tangerines.

Put peel on your face

Apart from eating your way to fabulous skin, fruit peel can also give your skin a glow with the outside-in approach.

Fruit acids in citrus rind is great for exfoliation and skin whitening, while blended cucumber and almond bits can make a refreshing face mask and act as an exfoliator.

Avocados are rich moisturisers, since the potassium in the peel enables an even penetration of vitamins into facial skin.

Sprinkle sugar on peach skin to make a sugar scrub that will revitalise and hydrate your skin.

Although DIY facials are fun and easy to do, it is important to give your face a rest from fruit acids. Limit such facials to two times a week, and the use of citrus to once a week. Also, pay close attention to your face's reaction to facial fruit skins. If an allergy or uncomfortable situation arises, stop and see your doctor for a professional opinion.

Other ideas

Add lemon peel to your brown sugar container to keep the sugar moist and pliable.

Infuse honey or vinegar with citrus peel to add a fresh zing and twist to the flavour.

Add a banana skin to a roast to ensure the meat doesn't get too dry.

Remove stains and discolouration from aluminium pots and pans with apple peel.

Blend banana peel with water to polish silverware.

Citrus rind can remove grease and mineral deposits built up in kettles.

Grapefruit skin is the secret to a fresh scent. Put in the refrigerator to remove odours.

In winter, add apple and orange peel to boiled red wine, supplemented by sugar, honey and cinnamon to make a delicious mulled wine that keeps you warm.

Dehydrated fruit peel makes a good snack. It's also great for flavouring appetisers such as nuts.

The writers are the founders of Hong Kong's first juice cleanse programme, Punch Detox